Modernizing an 80's Oak Kitchen on a Tiny Budget

Kitchen reno 6 days ago
Previously, this kitchen (originally installed in 1988) was too monochromatic. The color of the cabinets and the floors was too similar and the small island was lost in sea of golden oak. The awful drop ceiling fluorescent light was extremely dated and the lack of cabinet hardware only emphasized the arched paneled doors which didn't feel very modern..
I stained the center island dark brown, and painted the cabinets a warm cream color (Manchester Tan by Benjamin Moore) I added hardware to the cabinets and removed the old fluorescent lights which I replaced with 2 pendants and some LED cans. I tiled the backsplash with pencil tile to accentuate the generic granite countertops. I also updated the kitchen faucet and removed a few cabinet doors to break up the monotony of the cabinet doors.
The entire transformation (including the new Bosch appliance suite) came in under $3500. I did all the work myself, including the electrical, plumbing and tiling. The transformation took a little less than 3 weeks.
For more information about this project (including more photos and detailed tutorials) please visit:

See the full makeover on my blog.. The photos are no longer available here!

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  • Kerrin
    Kerrin Richland, WA
    I love painted cabinets for a fresh look and am researching how to do and searching for the perfect grey. I understand the love of wood cabinets but I think they darken kitchens and so I am going for the pop of paint.
  • Minkoch
    Minkoch Saint Charles, IL
    I like the idea of the chalk paint but was wondering if the oak grain shows through -- don't know if I want the grain to show.
  • Lynne Polelle
    Lynne Polelle Gig Harbor, WA
    I was very interested in your beautiful makeover because I inherited cabinets with the same arc design as yours except that where yours was recessed mine are raised, which makes any kind of trim impossible. Now that I've seen yours, however, I am
  • Dre
    Dre La Conner, WA
    Love the kitchen renovation! It is inspiring and I'm keeping this in mind for when I get to my kitchen!
  • Elaine
    Elaine Canada
    Your kitchen is absolutely gorgeous; you did a super job and I like the door-less cupboard. Fantastic job on the ceiling too .... I'll never understand the once popular "box lighting" (or those horrible dropped ceilings! Re your arched cabinet doors, I